ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WENY) -- A multi-million dollar food and agriculture business competition is coming to the Southern Tier.

New York State and Cornell University launched Grown-NY this weekend to attract high-growth food and agriculture startups from around the world.

The competition is meant to engage these startups in the region's ecosystem.

"New York's agricultural industry is one of the best in the world, and the Grown-NY competition will attract innovative start-ups focused on this industry to put down roots in Upstate New York," Governor Cuomo said.  "By bringing in new companies to find new ways to transform our state's food and agricultural industry, we are continuing to bolster these regional economies and foster growth in this critical industry statewide."

Entrants will compete to win up to $1 million dollars each year during the program's initial three-year run.  Empire State Development is funding the competition through its Upstate Revitalization Initiative, and Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement will administer it.

Winners will be required to operate in the Grown-NY region to grow jobs and connect with local industry partners.

The application period is open and runs through July 15.

The competition is anticipated to produce up to 20 finalists who will receive:

  • Dedicated membership from a hand-selected business adviser
  • Additional pitch training to hone their live pitches for the judges
  • An expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the Grow-NY region for up to two finalists per team
  • Networking introductions, business tours with potential partners, and valuable appointments for finalist team representatives

Finalists will pitch their ideas and business plans at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit on Nov. 12 and 13 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

To learn more about the competition details, including timeline, prize details, eligibility and residency requirements, visit